Town says farewell to one of its favourite sons
Tributes have been paid to former Cavan Town Council chairman, Paddy Sexton, who passed away last Thursday.
Patrick (Paddy) Sexton was a member of the large Sexton family from St Patrick’s Terrace, Swellan, in Cavan Town and was known far and wide for his role as a councillor and also a popular porter at St Felim’s Hospital and Cavan General Hospital, and prior to that the old Surgical Hospital.
Born on May 25, 1952, the affable former Cavan Town Mayor was described by everyone who knew him as “true gentleman by nature” who helped people with their various issues and, in his porter role showed compassion and kindness to many patients and their families.
A member of the Fianna Fáil party, Paddy was a great conversationalist and well versed on politics and local issues. He enjoyed canvassing for the party at election time and understood the need for good political representation at all levels.
Fianna Fáil TD Brendan Smith led the party tributes to Paddy.
“He loved his town and his county and worked hard as a councillor in an exemplary manner. It was my privilege to have had Paddy as a good friend, party colleague and strong supporter,” he told theCelt.
Expressing his sympathy to the family, Deputy Smith added: “The Fianna Fáil party and the community in Cavan Town and far beyond will miss Paddy who was very popular and a sincere friend to many.”
During his funeral Mass, celebrant Fr Martin Gilcreest said he encountered Paddy in Cavan General Hospital when he was chaplain there.
“It was clear he had a great interest in people in the way he took care of the patients in his charge.
“I was in the hospital not long after I began as chaplain and I had to deal with a very traumatic incident and I got wonderful support from Paddy at the time. In the middle of it all, he whispered in my ear, ‘You might not feel it, but you are doing a good job’. He gave me a nod and a wink and a pat on the back and I never looked back,” he recalled.
Fr Gilcreest added that the silver thread that spun through the many comments and tributes on RIP.ie was that Paddy was “a good humoured decent person, who always had time for everyone he came in contact with”.
A man of style and substance
A man of great style, Paddy was renowned for his smart suits and carried out his role as chairman of Cavan Urban Council with flair, professionalism and good humour.
He never shied away from raising the burning issue of the day in the council chamber and always had his research done in advance of any debate.
On finishing primary school, Paddy was thrilled to win a scholarship to St Patrick’s College and hail, rain or snow, he cycled to the college to pursue his education.
His first job was in Bundoran and sent fivers home to his mother, which were a great help as the Sexton family expanded.
Paddy subsequently moved to England and used it as a base to travel the world and explore new cultures. New York was his favourite destination. He loved spending time there with his brothers Terry and Stephen.
He was at the game in New York in 1997 to mark the 50th anniversary of the famed Polo Grounds clash and he also went to the World Cup in Orlando in 1994.
Cavan was twinned with the French Town, Jaunay Clan, and when a delegation arrived in Cavan Town with little English, Paddy with little French was undeterred and took them on a tour of his home town. His wit and charm broke down barriers and they enjoyed the craic.
Paddy’s remains were removed to the Cathedral of Ss Patrick and Felim last Saturday and the funeral cortege travelled via St Patrick’s Terrace, Wolfe Tone Street and stopped at Terry Coyle Park to mark Paddy’s support for Cavan Gaels. The procession then proceeded down Barrack Hill and, as his remains passed the roundabout at the bus station, Cavan Gaels members turned out in strength to stage an impressive guard of honour.
The route was lined with people from all walks of life, right down to the Cathedral and was testimony of the esteem in which Paddy was held in Cavan Town and well beyond.
Burial took place after the funeral Mass in the family plot in St Brigid’s Cemetery in Killygarry and the cortege stopped at Breffni Park, in recognition of Paddy’s great love of Cavan football and his loyal support over the decades.
Paddy is survived by his mother Lily; brothers and sisters, Anna-Rose, Eddie, Margaret, Sr Lily, Terry, Luke, Michael, Catherine, Peter, Martina, Carmel and Stephen; in laws; nephews; nieces, extended family and many, many friends.
Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam dílis